Confessions of A ‘Mad Men’ Virgin Vol. 1

On July 25th, 2010, Don Draper, Betty Draper, Pete Campbell, Peggy Olson, Joan Holloway, Roger Sterling and the entire Sterling Cooper (later Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce) staff became an indefinite staple in my life, making me a late bloomer in the phenomenon known as AMC’s Mad Men, a show that mirrors today’s society in more ways than one, while giving the most stimulating study on the human condition I have ever seen. Not even LOST has induced me to have this many thought provoking moments of solitude where I tried to dissect a character so complex as Don Draper to the point that I have to snap out of my daydream class and keep on living. The sad, ingenuous path of John Locke has been trumped by the machinations of Betty Draper; the existential views of Roger Sterling; and Bertram Cooper’s objectivism nature, a philosophy that I had no clue existed till Episode 8 of Season One, “The Hobo Code.” In short: the show is freaking amazing!

I watched the pilot episode, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”, back in March, and even though that 45 minutes worth of sheer brilliance enthralled me to keep watching, I didn’t. Life and other aspects kept me from it. However, I did get a break and decided to pop in Disc One and continue my time with Draper and company and I my life was forever changed afterwards. Mad Men became an obsession instantly and I couldn’t help but think about it when it wasn’t playing in front of me. Then an idea hit me. Why don’t I just blog about me losing my Mad Men virginity? I’m sure someone has done it before, but what about someone who is this late in the game? I know some people decided to watch this season without bothering to start from scratch. Not me. This is a show that has characters that need to be seen from the beginning of their journey to where they are now. In other words, you really just can’t jump on in; and no recap or primer could do any justice to the evolution of these characters.

So, here I am. I’m bestowing to you my experiences as I watched every morsel of Mad Men Season One, gasping at some aspects of the show, while shaking my head at others. I had become sort of a recluse, wanting to complete the first season, but at the same time keeping tabs on all things Mad Men, although not spoiling any future plot lines (which was unsuccessful in some cases). I kept a journal which chronicled my decent into the madness of the employees of Sterling and Cooper, their families, their friends and their declining morals in a society that is about to have a rude awakening. The slogan was right. “Nothing is as it seems”.

So without further adieu, here are my journals, my ‘confessions’ of a Mad Men Virgin… Note that episode remarks don’t start until episode six, “Babylon”. Also, there are SPOILERS for those who have not had a taste of the Mad Men Kool-Aid. You HAVE been forewarned…

July 25, 2010 – 4:05 am

– Just finished watching Episodes Two and Three of Mad Men. Consider my mind FRAKKED!

3: 12 pm

– Tried to have a conversation with my family on why Mad Men is an awesome show so far. They don’t get my fascination with it or why I am even ‘wasting’ my time trying to catch up. Foolish me. They never got me so why did I even bother?

July 30, 2010 – 2:23 pm

– Placed the order for Mad Men Seasons Two and Three. It was inevitable and shamefully late. Please forgive me.

– Also debating on picking up Mad Men & Philosophy… Nah. Need to avoid spoilers of every kind.

Aug 2, 2010 – 3:33 pm

Mad Men Seasons Two and Three arrived today. I’m grinning like the Cheshire Cat at all the debauchery and challenged morals that are waiting for me to indulge in. This pushes me to my goal of de-virginizing myself of Mad Men ignorance.

Aug 3, 2010 – 7:25 pm

– Seeing Peggy now and seeing later photos of her makes me want to thank whoever it was who gave her a much needed makeover, because she is a caterpillar that has blossomed into a goddess…

Aug 4, 2010 – 12:15 pm

– I scheduled a date with Mad Men this weekend. That doesn’t mean that we can’t sneak in some time before then…

Aug 5, 2010 – 2:10 am – Season 1, Episode 6 “Babylon”

– OMG! Roger has been porking Joan this entire time?!?! That reveal was beautifully written, shot, directed, and acted! Seriously, I choked on my cherry limade soda as I watched. Genius…

– Basket of Kisses… Peggy, I’ll be damned if you don’t surprise me every time…

– “Babylon” was fantastic as it carried the characters and themes to another level, especially with the concept of “utopia” as it’s centerpiece. While everyone is searching for their own ‘utopia’, Don thinks he’s found it, but it is now being 1) threatened or 2) not what he thought it would be. Simply put: amazing.

Aug 8, 2010 – 6:43 pm -Season One, Episode 7 “Red in the Face”

– I went and bought a salad after seeing Betty eating her’s. That is subliminal advertising for you.

– Sterling would’ve got his ass kicked. Why Don confronted Betty about the encounter and not Sterling is beyond me. Yea, Sterling is his boss, but since when has that been an excuse? It’s conflicts with Don’s concern for Betty’s health that we saw at the beginning of the episode, IMHO…

– Pete is a punk, but at least I can see why he’s the way he is. Don and Sterling? Not so much…

– HAHHAHAHAHAH Betty slapped the hell out of wannabe “Mother of the Year” Helen! Is it just me or should Helen be worried about what her own actions are doing to Glen instead of Betty’s?

– Peggy Rocks. ‘Nuff said.

– The Nixon vs. Kennedy show dow is heating up and it’s interesting to see how people were thinking at the time about this historical event. I know this is fiction, but the historic aspect of it is very “educational” ; – )

– It took me two viewings to tie Don’s favor from Hollis to the whole elevator scheme involving Sterling making a fool of himself later in front of the Nixon folks. Brilliantly planted and it shows that Don loves mind games. Wonder who he learned from?

Aug 10, 2010 2:11 am – Season One, Episode 8 “The Hobo Code”

– That Pete. Peggy could do so much better…

– Lois, I slick feel bad for you for barking up the wrong tree…

– The Twist was everyone’s ‘Electric Slide’ or ‘The Dougie” back in the day… If it got the girls to yell and run to the dance floor, that is….

– Sal being gay was slightly obvious. One could’ve chalked him up as one siddity (snobbish) but then again… I wonder if Sal’s a gay virgin, but has slept with women before…

– Note: Check old buildings and houses for a “hobo code”…

– Who/what the hell is Don Draper?!??! I think that Don took a life lesson from the Hobo in that he could just up and leave, be his own man with no worries. The problem with that trait is that it is selfish at best. Dick Whitman had a reason to run away the first time around. His life sucked. Now, the Hobo ran away from his life because he got tired of it all and just wanted to be free. In my opinion, this is selfish and cowardly on his part, because he had a family who probably did not do anything for him to just up and flee. He just left cause he felt like. Now let’s look at Don Draper wanting to run off with Midge, just like the Hobo, and not thinking clearly of the consequences that will follow. This in turn mirrors the characters of Ayn Rand’s novels that Bertram Cooper tried to sale Don on. Alas, a very good episode. I think I am getting the hang of things in the world of Sterling Cooper…

1:17 pm

– Went to work and checked out the Ayn Rand books we had on the shelf. Both dust jackets for the books seemed to have described what I know of Don Draper now to a ‘T’. Is Matthew Weiner commenting on Rand’s ‘objectivism’ philosophy or is he ridiculing it?

Aug 11, 2010 – 10:58 pm – Season One, Episode 9 “Shoot”

– As soon as I saw Betty Draper and those white pigeons, I knew the two would connect thematically, especially with Betty’s pent up frustrations.

– There are so many theories about Don Draper’s reluctance to leave Sterling Cooper flowing through my head that I didn’t know where to begin until Sterling himself mentioned one of them out loud: Starting Over… Don is top dog around Sterling Cooper and in the way he lays verbal smackdowns to his subordinates, you would think he loved his position. But what about the last episode when he wanted to drop everything and bounce with a woman he barely knew? Seems like someone doesn’t know what the hell they really want. Now, to tie this in to the concept of starting over, I felt that Don either didn’t want to claw his way back to the top all over again, especially at a major company where the stakes are higher and the competition is fiercer. Or, Don believes in the concept of loyalty and doesn’t want to stray the only thing he’s had close to family in Roger. I could so be wrong with that last suggestion, but I am putting it out there.

– I really can’t wait for Peggy’s transformation into a maneater to come to completion. The Season Three and Four photos of her are banging… Just wonder how it will happen cause she’s getting a little dumpy…

– I am shocked that no one has labeled Pete Campbell a raving psychotic or a schizo…

– Kinda didn’t get Pete and Harry’s idea…

– Great episode overall. Loved how Pete and Ken were knocking each other’s block off and Roger and Sterling left like nothing was going on. Priceless.

Aug 12, 2010 – 8:26 am

– Asked my boss to order or request the Mad Men & Philosophy book. Now more wait on something Mad Men related. Brilliant. Someone needs to come up with a Mad Men ad campaign equivalent to HBO’s “Waiting Sucks” for True Blood. I am sure it would be a hit.

Aug 14, 2010 – 9:21 am – Season One, Episode 10 “Long Weekend”

– Betty is still haunted by the ghost of her dear old mom. Wonder if this will be her downfall? Friends have told me she is a total snot, but so far I feel for that poor woman…

– Don Draper equating himself to Nixon doesn’t bode well with me and confirms my earlier convictions of him.

– Peggy is both Pete’s confidence booster and ball buster. He can only blame himself though. Jackass…

– Joan Holloway… Where in God’s Name have you been all my life?

– Carol’s gay, too? See, people? Homosexuality didn’t begin with the Village People…

– SO! Basically, the two people in Don/Dick’s flashback were NOT his parents! No wonder he is screwed up… A little sympathy for him is called for. Dick, not Don.

– Oh, Don, wants to play straight laced all of a sudden. Maybe he doesn’t want to corrupt another soul.

– Should I believe Sterling’s ‘epiphany’? He gave a rousing little speech about human energy after having his nearly screwed right out of him. I won’t hold my breath…

– Oh, crap. Don was just saving himself for Rachel Menken. That poor, poor woman.

3:15 pm

– Asked my manager about the book again. Still no luck…

4:47 pm – Season One, Episode 11 “Indian Summer”

– HOLY FRAK!!!! ADAM KILLED HIMSELF?!?!?!?!?? But (in Brad Pitt’s voice from “Se7en”) “WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!?!”

– Peggy and Betty’s adventures in VibrationsLand just shows how repressed and unhappy they are sexually… Damn, shame. They might would have a heart attack if they were in today’s society.

– Speaking of Betty, it only makes sense for her to stray if Don is doing it, and doing it well on a regular basis that is. Plus, if anyone think that Don is being done wrong by Betty’s glancing eye then you are as naive as they come.

– Bertram, as quirky and a bit off putting as he can be, is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters…

– So, Don is now a partner with the agency. That happened quick. Wasn’t expecting that until Season Two or Three.

– Pete’s schizophrenic behavior is growing OH MY GOD HE HAS THE BOX!!!!!! NOOOOO!!!!!

– Oh, and yep, Sterling is still full of crap with those clogged arteries of his, literally and figuratively…

Aug 17, 2010 – 1:14 am – Season One, Episode 12 “Nixon vs. Kennedy”

– So that’s what happened to Paul Young! He traveled back in time to 1960s New York and became Duck Phillips to escape his dark past on Wisteria Lane!

– I don’t care what anyone says. I LOVED the office party!!! More Joan, Sal, Harry, Paul, and Ken is what the doctor ordered!

– Loved the “kiss” between Sal and Joan, but the expressions from each party afterward had me over here dying! Sal’s look of “yea, I’m one of the boys…” and Joan’s expression that screamed, “Something is not right about this one…” is one for the record books.

– Harry, no! The last of the ‘good’ guys has been tainted!

– Ah! Dick Whitman’s life has dwindled to a box. Pete has ammo, but will he use it?

– Pete is working the nerves, but I will cheer him on if it means taking Don Draper’s ass down a peg…

– YES! Draper’s resolve has been shot to hell!!!

– BAM! Rachel serves Draper his walking papers along with a side of truth! Take that!

-Draper stole his name from his commanding officer… Wow…

– Seems that Draper regained his resolve. Now, Peter is a sniveling imp again… Connor would not approve.

– Is it just me or is Bertram looking after his fellow Objectivist man?

– And I might be the only one who did NOT think that Bertram’s “Who cares?” response to Pete’s revelation was funny at all. Pete’s slimy, true, but how many people has Dick/Dan crushed to get to the top? I’m sure there are countless and the tab might still be running on that number.

– DAMN! That final scene with Adam seeing Dick, now Don, on the train took the breath out of me as if someone punched me in the gut. Now my resolve has been rocked… Brilliant episode.

Aug 17, 2010 – 2:34 am – Season One, Episode 13 “The Wheel”

– Here we are! The end of leg one of my journey through Mad Men manhood…

– So everyone knew about Don’s infidelity, including Betty who played dumb to the fact. Now tell me that this woman is not on the way to a nervous breakdown…

Speaking of which, Francine is not the best mother there is, so I don’t know if I really want to sympathize with her plight due to how she treated Helen earlier. Not saying that Helen is a saint herself or anything…

– Duck Phillips hasn’t even been there for a week (I think) and he’s already trying to run things? I don’t think so. Why is Don not calling him out since Don help pull most of those accounts that Duck is not impressed with? No, Duck, I’m not impressed with you so far…

– Seems like Peggy is on her way to become one of the boys, and she’s not taking any prisoners.

– Those phone bills back then look silly as hell. Plus, were the women not allowed to look at the bills back then if the man was paying for them? Hmmm… My how far we have come if that’s the case.

– So Betty knows about Don’s talks with her psychiatrist. Love how she played the shrink like a fiddle by giving him a subliminal message of her own to pass to Don. She revealed that he doesn’t make love to her like she wants him to, which is code for that he is thinking about someone else. Damn shame… I didn’t know women could detect that.

– I feel bad for Harry, because he at least knows he messed up and knows what he wants in life. Don is a sharp contrast to this man.

-It’s sad Betty is really all alone in the world and the only person she can talk to is creepy Glen. Now THAT’s a new low…

– Don looked like he was affected by Adam’s death. This might be the break in his resolve that he needed, but is he sad for Adam’s death or elated that the last factor of his previous life is not dead? Which means that he is now truly free?

– With Adam now dead and Rachel far away from him as possible, Don can look to the future and what he’s been missing: his current family, which he used to sell The Carousel campaign to Kodak, which was the best scene in the entire episode.

– After getting her promotion, Peggy found out that she was PREGNANT AND IN LABOR!!!!!! How in the hell did she NOT know that??!?! True, it’s kinda bad timing with her new promotion now, but damn she didn’t have to blame the baby for something that is not his fault by not wanting to hold it. Speaking of which…

– Pete’s in-laws are fussing for a baby and it’s kind of creepy. Little does he know that he already has a kid fresh to the world. If only it was his wife’s kid…

– Now that Don has somewhat grasped the concept of ‘family’ and a normal life, is it too little too late? Will he lose interest and how will both his revelations and Betty’s revelations play into their marriage now? Thank God I don’t have to wait close to a year to find out…

I’m officially hooked, but I am just at first base with this show. Maybe Season Two will help me get even closer with the beast known as Mad Men? I smell a second volume of confessions coming along. Stay tuned…

I Had To… It Was Inevitable.

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